Ever since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the world knew that the Tokyo Olympics will be unlike any other.
More than a year after its historic postponement last March 2020 – the first ever in modern Olympic history – the Games are still in ever present danger after host country Japan declared a health emergency following soaring virus cases in the nation's capital.
As expected, many fans, athletes, and locals are left trying to make heads and tails of the protocols in place amid the controversial continuation of the quadrennial spectacle.
Although organizers have released seven different protocol playbooks for different people clusters like athletes and the press, going through a 70-page manual already with three revisions to date is simply not easy reading.
As such, here are the fast facts on the most important rules that everyone needs to know before and after the Olympic torch is lit.
Buried at page 29 of the athlete's playbook, it is stated that access to competition venues is "restricted to what is strictly required for operational reasons."
This basically means there will be no fans, and other outlets have reported that not even family members of non-Japanese athletes will be allowed in.
All the basic practices of COVID prevention are also in place inside Olympic venues and out.
This includes mask wearing, frequent hand washing, social distancing especially while eating, limited physical contact with others, avoidance of enclosed spaces and crowds, and other standard practices done all over the world for the past year.
Athletes and other essential personnel, vaccinated or not, will be subjected to rigorous and frequent testing for the virus, and the process is as follows:
Any athlete who contracts COVID after any of the numerous daily tests will be forced to forfeit the rest of their medal run, with no ifs, ands, or buts.
In the event of a positive test in the middle of competition, athletes will be allowed a consolation to years of hard work, and will still get a medal if they were eligible up to the moment they tested positive.
For example, if a boxer tests positive before a gold medal match, they will still be awarded a silver by default, and the gold goes to the healthy fighter.